Monday, 2 June 2014

Punk Spirituality (Part 2)

I was discussing this subject with a friend last week, who raised some interesting points. Punk isn't necessarily good quality, which is not the same as saying it's bad - Sex Pistols were not virtuoso musicians, but still produced a great sound. The lo-fi nature of punk is encouraging insofar as it means the focus of punk spirituality can be on content and drive, not necessarily on presentation. For me personally, if I want to do something I usually want to do it to the best of my ability, but that takes time and effort and I don't always have the necessary resources (physical and/or mental) - that may mean I don't do something, because I don't feel I can do it well enough.

May be I should be influenced by punk a bit more and accept that a lower level of quality is sometimes a good thing. A few of my friends thrive on the energy of being late and delivering at the last minute - the pressure of that situation can release creativity and remove mental blockers. It can also mean there's not enough time to get hold of the ideal set of resources, which forces compromise - to look at it another way, this forces even more creativity to come up with alternative solutions, which as a result may be better than what was first considered. So may be lo-fi output is ok...but for me the end result still has to be good somehow, otherwise it's all a bit rubbish.

Also, punk is chaotic, which is another source of its energy. When thinking about applying this to worship, it seemed like punk worship should contradict a formal, linear, led worship. It should present worship in a way that is unpredictable, unplanned...led by the spirit, not by ourselves. In this respect, one could say the Quakers are punk, which is not something I thought I'd ever consider. They wait in silence until someone is led by the spirit to say/sing/do something. This means every service 'should' be different, random, unpredictable.

Another approach is to curate worship, something Jonny Baker wrote a book about. This is to set up a range of worship points and allow people to engage with those in their own way. This method allows everyone to make their own worship trail, with each person therefore worshipping in a different way all at the same time.

Finally, a combination of these elements that Sanctus 1 has tried successfully a number of times in the past, is a DIY service. This is where a number of props are brought together and the first 2/3 of the service is spent by the congregation making the service. Split into manageable sizes, each group can focus on a particular service element. The last 1/3 of the service is where those elements are brought back together and played out as the formal worship.

What do you think - are these ways of worshipping that fit with a punk aesthetic and logic? What other ways of worshipping might punk inspire in us? Leave a comment below...

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